Writing a novel is easy. Writing a good novel is hard. That’s just life. If it were easy, we’d all be writing best-selling, prize-winning fiction. I’d like to share with you what works for me because good fiction doesn’t just happen, it is designed. The toughest part of learning how to write a novel is knowing where to start and how to keep on going to the end. This is a template I devised for myself, and hopefully it will help demystify the writing process.
Chapters 1-3 (approx. 30-50 pgs) – The Set-up. In these 30-50 pages, the writer sets up the story, the characters, the dramatic premise, the major players and their relationships.
Chapters 4-15 (approx. 120-150 pgs) – The Confrontation. This is where the protagonist’s (hero/heroine) attempt to reach h/her goal and is thwarted again, and again, forcing h/her to change the way h/she tries to reach that goal. Important: each change leads to a new obstacle standing between him and his goal. These confrontations are called: plot turning points.
Chapters 16-19 (approx. 30-50 pgs) – The Black Moment. This is the moment in which everything looks bleak and hopeless. It’s often the point at which the internal and external conflicts collide and really mess things up for the hero and/or heroine or, both.
Chapters 20-25 (approx. 30-50 pgs) – The Resolution. These last pages solve the problem, for good or ill. (Depending on your genre). Your protagonist reaches h/her goal or, perhaps, the events in the story cause h/her to change the goal and find a different sort of success than originally sought. You sigh and smile because now you’re ready to write, “The End.”
Note: GMC is essential to every novel. Without these elements you have a novel with characters that have no purpose, and without purpose, there is no reason for the book to exist.
Internal Conflict – this conflict cannot be seen. It’s what goes on inside the protagonist’s head; their emotions. These are the real issues that keep the hero and heroine from reaching h/her goal long after the external problems have been solved.
External Conflict – this conflict is visible. The protagonist can see these things happening.
Following this blueprint and using the highest number of pages per chapter will produce a 300 page novel (75,000 words). Keep in mind this is a basic blueprint to show how a novel is divided into those all important sections. Depending on your genre and how wordy you are, will depend upon how many pages each section will contain. What are you waiting for? Slather on a liberal amount of butt glue and get started.
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